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Ethernet-on-a-Chip Will Save PCs a Slot (04/1990)

From Higher Intellect Vintage Wiki

Turning an IBM PC or compatible into an “Ethernet-ready” system usually involves plugging a network card into a valuable expansion slot.

But now U.S. Sage (Longwood, FL) has developed a chip that incorporates most Ethernet hardware functions. The company hopes that PC makers will use the Ethernet Needing Zero Overhead (ENZO) chip on their motherboards.

ENZO combines most of the Ethernet hardware functions on a single chip, according to U.S. Sage president Alex DuBrow. The LAN controller and Manchester encoding/decoding functions, which often require two chips on Ethernet boards, are included in the chip. ENZO is compatible with the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet network standard and supports both Novell’s NetWare and U.S. Sage’s MiniLan operating systems, the company says.

Building an Ethernet-ready motherboard really isn’t a new concept (witness the NeXT Computer). But it’s an idea that hasn’t been exploited by manufacturers of IBM compatibles. DuBrow thinks that PC makers (and, in turn, users) can benefit from the LAN-on-a-chip technology; ENZO sells for only $10 to $25 (in OEM quantities), and it frees up a slot. DuBrow claims that U.S. Sage has received “strong inquiries” about ENZO and has sent out about a dozen evaluation kits, some to PC manufacturers.

—Jeffrey Bertolucci